Have You Seen This Story Yet?

I am an avid Track and Field fan and following the World Championships this past month in Berlin there is a story that is proving to be troublesome to me. In the Women’s 800m Final the Champion, Caster Semenya, ran away from the field with the best time posted this year in the event.

article-0-061d1a40000005dc-507_468x286The story that developed was that there was question as to if she actually was a woman. I have put up a picture of her so you can see for yourself. The complaints of many in the track and field community are that she is in fact a man. Her musculature and other characteristics they say are grounds for her to be tested. I am not sure how I feel about that. I guess for the sake of fairness you could make the argument the tests need to be done but I am concerned for how damaging this could be to someone.

I began to research the topic a little more and in an article I read in the New York Daily News web site, it revealed that she is actually a hermaphrodite, she is a man and a woman.

I would be curious to see how everyone feels about this particular topic. Do you feel she should have to give her medal back? Is it fair that she has three times the normal amount of testosterone that a typical female has? Does this make for an uneven playing field?

It appears as though she was raised as a woman. Where does the line get drawn in this type of case? Others have been found to have certain physical differences that give them an advantage. All we heard about at the Summer Olympics was how Michael Phelps has a body that is specifically built for swimming giving him an advantage over the other swimmers. Lance Armstrong has been accused of having certain anatomical advantages over the other riders on the tour.

I realize this is a slightly different circumstance but like I said I would be curios to see how you guys feel. Personally I think she should be able to keep her medals. It was not a choice she made, it is simply how she was born.


4 Comments on this post


  1. coach S. said:

    Ultimately (and unfortunately), whether or not “she” was raised as a woman, or is called a woman in her country, or has been humiliated, Caster Semenya has an unfair advantage over other women when it comes to athletics and shouldn’t get to receive the gold medal. Why do we separate mens and women’s competitions in the first place? Because men clearly have a natural biological advantage. So, to permit a person to compete as a woman – all the while possessing biological traits inherent to men – and win a gold medal that would have gone to a true woman, is not right. It is unfortunate for Semenya, but how much more unfortunate is it for those other women who feel like they lost a gold medal to a “man”?

    September 13th, 2009 at 1:30 am
  2. Amy said:

    I actually know someone who had a child and at birth they had to decide if they wanted the child to be a boy or a girl. They had to look at the body and do testing and still had to decide. I don’t think anyone can fathom how awful this would be as a parent and then spending the rest of your life trying to second guess if you made the “right” decision. The child has probably spent many days/years wondering if she is a girl in a boys body, wondering too if her parents chose correctly. They want to be normal and probably nondescript but at the same time they have characteristics that bring them to the spot light. This athlete has worked hard and is competitive, and like many others works hard to win. How humiliating now for this to be a topic of discussion in her competition. First and foremost she had to make it this far and no has told her she couldn’t compete, but when we excels, there’s question. If this were a case of sex change, then yes, strip her of her medals, but it’s not! Let her enjoy this moment, value her as a beautiful competitive woman and celebrate with her.

    September 13th, 2009 at 2:17 pm
  3. eric said:

    Do you think this will this end her track and field career? I wonder where she will be allowed to compete in the future. Seems unfair that she have to stop doing something that she has a great passion for.

    September 13th, 2009 at 3:38 pm
  4. Scott said:

    I am not sure what will happen next Eric. I agree with you Amy, there was no choice in the matter. Why are we unable to celebrate the amazing willingness for this woman to overcome what I am sure has been a very difficult life full of questions and unwanted comments.

    September 13th, 2009 at 7:36 pm


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